diana;;etherborn;;puzzle;;physics;;journey;;altered;;matter Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee


By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 9, 2018

A gravity-shifting puzzle game; now that's a genre you don't hear about every day, right? So, you can imagine that I was curious to see how this works out. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Etherborn!

Before we start, please note that I had the honor to try out the demo version so there might be minor changes made before the full game is launched. Etherborn starts off in a very mysterious fashion, without big intro story. The main menu shows a human figure or, rather, the outline of a human figure with the brain and lungs represented as a bunch of glowing pink lines that are arranged in a tree-like fashion.

You'll start the game by landing in shallow water. In this peaceful environment, you'll learn how to run and jump. You can also control the camera with, I must confess, I struggled a bit at first. But a quick glance at the options menu told me that, lucky for me, I could invert the camera X and Y axis. I think the developers paid a lot of attention to the camera from a players point of view, because when I decided to let go of the controls of the camera, I discovered there was almost no actual need to change the camera view at all. The camera manages to switch to the ideal view every time!

In a way, Etherborn reminded me of an old PSX game called Kula World. For those among you who don't know this game, Kula World was a great game in which you control a beach ball and you needed to steer this ball through a dangerous maze. These three dimensional mazes could be turned in any direction and the same goes for the ball itself. Etherborn is kind of like the same thing, but the mazes in this game are really huge. Instead of a ball, you control a humanoid character and, as you might expect because there is 20 years between both games, the graphics are a whole of a lot better!

After playing the intro level and getting to learn the controls, you'll soon discover a sort of Tree of Life, which is tangled up in its own roots and branches. This is the moment in which you will get to know more of the reasons behind you being here and what your goal is. Your journey takes you up in the tree but as you walk on the branches, your bath will be blocked. Right next to these blockages, you will notice a portal. Use this portal to travel to another dimension. If you solve the puzzle in this alternate dimension, you will return to the tree. Your path is no longer blocked now, so you can continue on your way.

To solve a puzzle you'll have to collect electricity spheres that are scattered throughout the level. These spheres can then be used to activate platforms. That's platforms will manipulate the paths through the level, enabling you to reach the next bit. The number of spheres per level is usually the same as the number of platforms it contains. Sometimes, there will even be less spheres than there are platforms, which means that you'll have to decide where to use your collected spheres in order to get the maximum result from the use of one... Let's just say that this game is in our category Brain Bashers for a reason.

At a certain point in the game, I got stuck in a level for quite some time. I managed to collect all the available electricity spheres and use them in the right way. This resulted in me finally reached a long bridge, which would take me to the other side so I could continue my quest, but when I reached the end of said bridge, it just stopped in mid air. There was no possible way to cross! That is, until I found a way to walk around it reach the bottom of the bridge. Following the path I found meant that I could actually reach my destination and proceed to the next level.

I love the way Etherborn is designed and how you sometimes stand at the top of a level, only to find the level completely turned upside down only a short few minutes later. That gives you a new perspective and a range of new options to reach places you thought you couldn't reach before. I haven't played a lot of games that used this 3D level rotating game mechanic and I must say that Etherborn does it in a brilliant way!

available on:

Altered Matter
TBA 2018